Description: The Seasoned Performers is a nonprofit company that celebrates the contributions of older adults by producing both original and well-known material, providing performance opportunities for seniors, and bringing live theatre to special and often underserved audiences. Our presentations may be populated with seasoned actors, but the performances appeal to people of ALL AGES!
A school child recently wrote us: "Thank you for coming to read to our class... I hope we will get to watch another play of yours! I wonder how many places have you been to? And the name Seasoned Performers, it's a good name for you. Do you travel the world a lot? I wish we could see you again."
An adult said: "The acting was really good, the set was wonderful and so were the props. The script is very funny and the message is great!"
And a senior group told us: "Your play is one of the highlights of our year. We are already looking forward to your return."
Status: A 501(c)(3) non profit company which relies on community and corporate support, grants, foundation support, and performance fees
Purpose: To give an outlet to vibrant seniors (those who have acted professionally or in the community, as well as those who are just beginning); to support older adults who want to continue contributing to the community; to project a positive view of aging; to reach urban, rural, suburban, and underserved populations with live theatre
Wings: The Seasoned Actors, The Seasoned Readers, The Seasoned Salon Readers (see fuller description under "What We Do")
Performers: Around 50 actors and readers
Service: To over 145,000 people over the last 30 years (and over 5,000 each year), touching up to 8 counties annually, and touring across Alabama more than any other arts group in the state. TSP’s programs DO NOT duplicate those of any other arts group in the state.
Production Schedule: Plays and readings yearly enhance lives at over 130 different retirement facilities, schools, churches, libraries, and community centers, plus we also reach the general public through many venues. Several times each month, our Readers reach out to several Memory Care locations. They also read in a number of schools, helping with literacy and reading goals. Our touring play usually performs at least once a year for the general public. And our Salon Readers, a group of accomplished local actors, present a series of events annually for audiences of all ages.
National Recognition: One of sixteen arts groups from across America listed on the NEA website for Creativity and Aging: Best Practices
Honors: 2007 award for “Outstanding Contribution to the Theatre Community” from the Birmingham Area Theatre Alliance; nominated for the 2008 Non-Profit of the Year given by the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce; 2008 UAB’s Center for Aging “New Horizons Award” recognizing Not-for-Profit organizations which benefit the health and well-being of older adults.
TSP Founders, Martha Haarbauer and Barbara Bonfield
History of The Seasoned Performers
1984: Launched as the Prime Time Players in 1984, TSP started under the auspices of the Jefferson County Office of Senior Citizens’ Activities. At that time, the company recruited six actors from the federal Senior AIDES program to entertain senior adults at area senior centers. Programming was created, rehearsed, and produced by a single director. Barbara Bonfield and Martha Haarbauer were the cofounders of the group.
1986: In 1986, TSP commissioned its first script, Rosa and the Rhinestone Star, created with a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. That same year, the program moved under the umbrella of a nonprofit organization called the Jefferson County Council on Aging.
1988: Two years later, in 1988, TSP became an all-volunteer troupe and began touring to a wider variety of community sites. Each year, the group brought to life a newly commissioned script for its growing audiences.
1998 - After a successful decade of touring, a new performance wing, the Seasoned Readers, was established.
2002: Perhaps the biggest move came in 2002 whenThe Seasoned Performers, Inc. developed into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and the first board of directors was formed.2002 - The Seasoned Performers, Inc. was established as a nonprofit organization. The founding directors were Jim Anderson, Martha Haarbauer, and Debi Strevy. The first board of directors was formed.
2006: By 2006, the board created a long-range plan to expand services, to develop the educational potential of the program, and to serve more of the population with high quality theatre and theatre activities for seniors. This plan expanded the staff from a single director, and added Ellise Mayor as Artistic Director.
2007: In 2007, TSP generated another branch, the Salon Readers, comprised of some of the most accomplished seasoned actors in Alabama, available to perform readings of select scenes and short plays at public and private events. Also, longtime Executive Director and Founder, Martha Haarbauer retired and Barbara Sloan took over as ED. Martha continues on staff as Readers Coordinator.
Board And Officers
Rick Rivenbark, President
Elise Bodenheimer, Vice-President
Emma Taylor, Secretary/Treasurer
Jesse Bates, Brad LaMonte, Sandra Lawler, Beth McCord, Nancy Whitt
Emeritus Member: Bill Voigt
Ellise Mayor, Managing Artistic Director
Martha Haarbauer, Readers Coordinator
Beverly Brasell, chair of the Advisory Council Steering Committee
Linda Andrews, Carole Armistead, John Batson, Jean Burford, Boots Carroll, Chianti Cleggett, Rod Davis, Charlotte Dominick, Marva Douglas, Brenda DuVall, Andrew Duxbury, Della Fancher, Sue Ellen Gerrells, Cathy Gilmore, Harold Hunt, Jeff Johnson, Diane Litsey, Alan Litsey, Jack Mann, Suzanne Mann, Julia Matson, Patty McDonald, Dianne Mooney, Rick Rivenbark, Virginia Mae Schmitt, Debi Strevy, Cameron Vowell, Nancy Watkins, Kay Wilburn
Managing Artistic Director
An actress, theatre instructor, director, musician and writer, Ellise is a graduate of the National Shakespeare Conservatory and the Lincoln Center Institute for Aesthetic Education in New York City, has a BA in English from the University of Alabama and a Master's in Public and Private Management from Birmingham-Southern College. She is an adjunct instructor for the Birmingham-Southern Conservatory and Stonecreek Montessori. Her script Overlooking Magic was performed for The Seasoned Performers 23rd touring season. Prior to serving as artistic director, she directed the 22nd and 23rd touring seasons for The Seasoned Performers. She has directed for the Birmingham Festival Theatre, Birmingham Children's Theatre and The Seasoned Performers and has acted in many productions with numerous theatres in Alabama, New York and Georgia.
Founder and Readers Coordinator
Martha Haarbauer directed The Seasoned Performers from 1984 until 2007, and has taught acting at UAB for over twenty-five years. She is the author of Seasoned Theatre: A Guide to Creating and Maintaining a Senior Adult Theatre, published by Heinemann in 2000. She has appeared in productions at Birmingham Festival Theatre, Town and Gown, Jewish Community Center Players, Terrific New Theatre, UAB Theatre, and played a featured role in Horn in the West outdoor drama in Boone, North Carolina. Ms. Haarbauer has been a costume designer at UAB and has written several scripts for The Seasoned Performers. She won an Obelisk Award for acting and a Birmingham Festival of Arts Silver Bowl Award for her work with The Seasoned Performers and was presented the 1997 Professional Award by the Jefferson County Office of Senior Citizens Services. She received the 2001 Marian Gallaway Award for contributions to theatre in Alabama from the Alabama Conference of Theatre and Speech and the 2006 Alabama Gerontological Society Professional Award for improving the lives of seniors in Alabama. In 2007 she and The Seasoned Performers received the award for “Outstanding Service to the Theatre Community” from the Birmingham Area Theatre Alliance.